Chiara – Rochester Bridge Trust Arkwright Engineering Scholar 2020

Chiara became one of the Trust’s scholars at the start of the 2020 academic year. The pandemic means we’re yet to meet her in person but we are pleased to welcome her into the Rochester Bridge Trust Arkwright Engineering Scholars family.

I’m Chiara, and I’m currently studying A-levels in maths, further maths, physics, chemistry and biology. From a young age, I have wanted to study something combining the subjects I love, so engineering seemed like the perfect choice.

I have always been fascinated by bridges and some of my favourite holiday memories involve going to visit structures such as the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, and the Segovia Aqueduct in Spain. Two years ago, I did a project on how building a new bridge in Hammersmith could reduce congestion, which led me to research different types of bridges and how forces act in each one, as well as the best materials to use in bridge building. To put this into practice, I created various model bridges with different combinations of structures and materials, and tested them to destruction – which led me to the conclusion that a truss bridge would be best for my specific purpose.

For my Arkwright Project, I made a solar-powered eco-cooling system, aiming to solve the problem of high temperatures making everyday life difficult in less economically developed countries. I designed the device’s structure in a 3D design program called Fusion360, and the internal electronics components in a program called EAGLE. I then soldered the circuit board with the electronics to make a working fan.

I love reading about engineering; some of my favourite books include J E Gordon’s Structures (Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down) and The New Science of Strong Materials, which discuss the properties of materials and why their practical strengths are so different from their theoretical strengths, and Peter Forbes’ The Gecko’s Foot, which is about nature-inspired engineering (biomimetics).

I’m so grateful to the Rochester Bridge Trust for sponsoring me. Their generous support has enabled me to purchase numerous extra textbooks and attend courses so I can learn about engineering beyond the A-level curriculum.

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